Soup-er Cheap Leek and Potato Soup

As a child even the word soup used to make me shudder. My parent’s soups were stuffed full of veg and no matter what the flavour, always turned out the same colour, that shade you get when you mix all the leftover paints on your pallette together.  The house would smell of dubious odours for days after and I think the memories were bad enough to mean that for the best part of 15 years, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid the stuff.

Tight budget during university and even once graduating into the adult world, forced me to reconsider however, combined with a newly built fascination with One Pot Wonder Meals, built from the critically short supply of clean crockery in shared accommodation. I remember one low point in particular caused by the great Clean Crockery shortage , was eating pudding one night from a wok… Anyway, I digress. Over the last few years, soup and I have started to make up lost ground, forming a careful friendship. One of my go to recipes is my version of Leek and Potato

This makes around 4 large portions, each portion costing around  £1. Serve alone or with fresh crusty bread or cheese twists. It takes around 30 min.

You’ll need.

2  large potatoes cubed finely

3 finely sliced leeks

1 tin of sweetcorn

Half a mug of single cream

A mug and a half of milk

A mug of chicken stock

Rosemary

Knob of butter

One  chopped onion

Optional smoked bacon lardens

Started by melted the butter in a large pot. Add the leeks and onion and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the bacon of you are using, along with potato. Add in the stock and let it simmer on a medium heat for 10 min.

Add in your milk, Rosemary and seasoning then simmer for 15 more minutes.

Add the cream and sweetcorn, heat through for 5 minutes andddddddd there we go!

Serve and enjoy. It’ll keep in the fridge for a day too but I wouldn’t freeze just because of the cream. It’s such a lovely hearty and cheap recipe with or without the bacon

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Quick Crafty-Handmade Mini Dreamcatchers

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Hello!

I must start off by apologising for being so quiet these last few days. I have just survived my first week of my new job (yay) and now am in bed from chronic flu (not so yay) I wanted to get a post up today but decided to be nice and simple.

I thought I’d show you how to make one of my favourite and most popular items; Minature Dreamcatchers. I love the mystic and meaning behind the dreamcatcher and find it such a calming thing to look at (I even have a beautiful one tattooed behind my ear, by the lovely ladies at Shaded Lady Tattoos, Falmouth.)IMG_20160227_113149

There are so many intricate and beautiful designs out there, I think the beauty of this design lies in the simplisticy and rawness.

You will need…

A small willow hoop. Now you have two options here, you could buy some or my far preferred option is to make my own, by wrapping a very small willow whip around its self. You can do this with any woody plant, clematis etc. I find it easier to do all the wrapping while it’s still alive and attached to the plant. Cut off from the main plant and leave to dry and die for at least a month.

Some fabric strips. For a hoop around 8 cm wide you’ll need to cut your strips  about 10cm long. Use whatever patterns you like and be creative-use scraps.

Some twine.

A knife.

A little superglue.

 

Start by cutting very slight grooves into the some places around the hoop, around 5 or 6 notches cut into it evenly spaced. Then start wrapping a line of twine around the hoop in a zig zag, sitting the twine into the notches. Just think about trying to create a star effect.

Once done, secure in place with a little glue.

Then get your fabric strips and tie them round the bottom half of the hoop. Dont worry about creating an uneven length it’ll add to the effect.

Finally tie a little twine to the top to add a handle.

And voila! So simple and beautiful and raw. I’m sorry this is a basic one, I’m feeling super poorly! Looking forward to sitting in bed now to catch up with all your inspiring posts

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xx

Nifty Thrifty Moneysaving Tricks around the House

I thought I’d be a little different today and show you how my whole crazy thrifty ethos can be rolled out across the house from everything to reducing your gas bill to what to do with old tea lights! If you don’t want to see this kind of thing just let me know!

So here we go, a list of my favourite nifty thrifty tricks.

  1. Reduce your Gas Bills. We have a three bedroom flat with gas central heating and a gas oven. Our gas bill is around  £15 a month which I think is pretty darn good. How do we do this? Apart from trying to have the heating on for a max of an hour a day, the biggest way I save is through devoting an hour or so of my weekend to cooking meals for the week ahead. This is a great idea because it saves time in the week and saves you money. It’s great coming home from work grabbing a meal from the freezer and knowing it’s wholesome and healthy and not full of salt. I tend to make three pots up on a Sunday,  one of soup, one of a risotto/pasta/rice/noodle and then one meat based. Each pot probably has 6 portions in. By doing all the cooking in that hour you save so much gas compared to the half an hour here there and everywhere you use to cook in the week and it removes the temptation of just saying “can you grab a pizza on the way home!”
  2. Stains…stain removers cost a fortune! A large pot of Vanish, the good stuff here in the UK, won’t leave you much change out of £5. That’s a lot to do a spot of cleaning…Out of a need to save money and an ability to chuck anything I’m holding across everywhere, I’ve developed an ability to know how to remove anything from anything using anything! For example, there’s not much that rubbing a bit of toothpaste into a stain won’t remove. Nail Varnish remover works fantastic on a lot of paint based stains. Lemon gets rid of fake tan. Applying heat will help you get crayon out of carpet. Rubbing anti dandruff shampoo and toothpaste into hair dye stains will help lift them. The list is endless. Be creative, I make up a little pot and have it close to hand! Otherwise it’s easy to end up with more money tied up in products under your sink that in your savings account!
  3. Tea lights.  You know those beautiful little metal cases them come in? You can make a lovely cheap piece of art from them in seconds. Simply remove the wax, pinch in two opposite sides, then roll over with a rolling pin to create a petal. Make several petals to create a flower. Affix to a canvass and boom!12751843_1275436979149394_72070645_o
  4. Boxes can make shelves.  One of my little treats is that I subscribe to the Glossy Box,  a great monthly box subscription for beauty products. They send them in stunning little boxes. I was getting a pile of these boxes and didn’t want to just use them for storage, so after sticking sides together and hanging, I made this wall shelve thing!12767857_1275434962482929_1697767101_o.jpg
  5. Crease Free Drying. I try to dry my clothes outside but when I do need to use the radiators I make sure that I fold my clothes up neatly and then hang on the radiator. I know people tend to spread them out to minimise drying time but by folding them the heat will help press out the creases meaning you can over avoid ironing-winner!
  6. Make your own flavoured water. Buying water bottles is such a terrible waste of everything when you can make your own flavoured water so easily. Just chop up some limes and lemons and stick them in your reusable water bottle. Done.
  7. Reusing containers. I was amazed how many companies offer an incentive if you take back empty containers when buying more.  This applies to everything from Starbucks and taking on your own mug, to make up companies who offer money if you return empties. Eg MAC and Clinique. It’s not hugely advertised but I’d always ask
  8. Skip Hunting! I’ve said this before but I’m amazed what other people throw out. Some of it is perfectly good and just needs a paint or sanding. Always ask the owner first but never be afraid. Lots of areas have Facebook Freebie Sites and again you’ll be amazed what you can get. I’ve entirely furnished my flat from other people’s throw aways.
  9. Be season-savy. I’m not saying become a full on tribal spoon maker but it never hurts to gather nature’s gifts when she gives them. I gather in blackberries, wild garlic, apples, rosehips and wild strawberries in big batches and freeze or make into pestos etc. This won’t save you much but it’s always nice to have a treat in and not pay over the odds for it. Dont forget as well as I’ve mentioned before, when trimming root vegetables like spring onions you can replant the ends to make your own plants12755029_1275435105816248_1694960257_o.jpg
  10. Grow.Grow.Grow. Whether you live in an urban towerblock or a country mansion, everyone can growth things. It’s just a question of how and where. Window sills make ideal planter areas for herbs and you’ll be amazed how much money having a steady supply of fresh herbs can save. I was buying parsley and basil each week which was £1.80. That’s nearly  £10 a month. £120 a year. See? It adds up! If you have a place for outside window pot grow cut and come lettuce, this should get you through the summer and again will save regular buyers a £1 a week. I love having fresh flowers in the house but realistically your looking at £3 a week to keep this up. Grow your own! Sweet peas grow happily on a window and smell incredible.12767450_1273019062724519_2080283913_n

So there we have it, a few tips which I hope you find useful! Please let me know if not and I won’t repeat this!

It would be great to hear your ideas?

Have a good day x

Making Shelves from Draws-A quick fix tutorial

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I’m writing this after my first day of work in my new career! Don’t you hate being the new person?! I get so worried and end up thinking up about all the possible things that might go wrong, my handbag ends up like an emergency kit-deodorant incase of chronic sweats, make-up incase it goes wrong, painkillers incase PMS strikes, etc. But then where do you draw the line…tights incase you ladder yours, a new shirt because lunch can be dangerous,  a birthday cake incase you turn up and its someone’s birthday?! It’s a NIGHTMARE! The result was I ended up with a bulging handbag full of useless things, but by some miracle it went well, and I didn’t even need my puncture kit…

I’m feeling a little drained tonight, so going to keep it simple, and share with you one of my favorite makes yet-mainly because it was so, so easy yet so effective!

I do love skips. Call me a scrounger, but its amazing what other people get rid of, and some times people chuck out some beautiful things, that are just crying out for a second life. One time I found three beautiful pine draws from a little dresser or bedside table. I guess the table was broken, but the table was fine. I knew the draws would come in handy, so I asked the owner if I could take them, and brought them home.

I gave them a sand, a prime and then painted with an off-white for interior wood. Again, I used a cheaper own brand paint, because while Annie Sloan etc is great, I refuse to spend so much on a can of paint. Once dry, I simply screwed all three on top of each other, using one central screw. And that WAS THAT!

How simple is that?! And yet its beautiful! Its so quirky and beautiful, its great for towels in the bathroom or just items in the living room. The thing about having a central screw is you can twist each draw slightly so each layer faces a different angle. You can change this according to where it is in the house-how cool is that?!

I could rave about this all day, because its so simple, so cheap and so cute.

I’ll sssh now, but please make one, its just so satisfying! I hope you all had a lovely Monday and that you too can sympathize with the Dreaded Being New.

xx

 

 

What to do With an Old Bucket

I was lucky enough to have an office above a pop up shop that specialised in all things beautiful. One of those shops that inspires you to have a beautiful house, with beautiful things and sit around drinking perfectly crafted coffees all day (the reality being your sitting in a mildly damp house where nothing matches, whist sipping a lumpy hot chocolate.)

Anyway, I digress…the pop up shop closed shortly after Christmas, and with the closing came a fluffy of dirt cheap offers. They had some beautiful steel buckets for just £1, all vintagey and retro style. I had no idea why I loved them so much, or why I could possibly want a bucket, but I bought one. The next day I was no closer to thinking what I could do with it, so of course I went and bought the remaining 9…

I spent the next few days convincing my other half that they had a perfectly valid reason to be in the house, before I started getting crafty. So here are some ideas on just what you can do with a good old bucket…(with or without a hole!)

Firstly, if your bucket is just an old boring one, jazz it up with some spray paint! There’s some great stone and metallic style ones available.

  1. Plant Pot. The first thing I’ve done (and loved) is used the buckets to plant some of my treasured house plants in. Some of them were needing replanting into bigger containers and they make idea pots. Just make sure you put a few stones in the bottom for drainage and your away. I love the colour of the green against the steel, it looks fresh and raw and so great.12755383_1274300905929668_1101328136_o.jpg
  2. Ornamental Flower display. Where light is poor in my house (my hallway has no windows) I still love to have flowers. I wanted to create a floral display using the bucket. I put some of the foam you get for florists in the bottom, then covered in shreddings. (I save paper shreddings I get from the packaging in the post). I then stuck in some floral and foliage stems and voila. It looks spectacular and I love it.12767385_1274300335929725_1263619013_n
  3. The next thing I did was to stick a load of toilet rolls in it! Instead of just stacking my loo rolls in the bathroom, by putting them all in the bucket it looked amazing!
  4. My final project was to make a pouffe! This is my favorite so far, and all I did was…Stuff in a pillow, cover in fabric then attach some wooden legs!12755186_1274302952596130_1339808644_o

So there we have it;one bucket, many uses!! Here’s hoping you all have a lovely Monday, I’m off to my new job, wish me luck!

xx

I Love You Pizza Recipe (It’s not a pizza at all.._

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I can’t remember how or why this name ever came about, probably when I was trying to make my budgeting sound much more tempting to my long suffering boyfriend back in our student days. Its not a pizza at all, but more of a frittata/omlette, but a very tasty one, which makes for a satisfying and filling meal.

Again its one of those recipes that stands lots of fiddling and tweaking, so changing it up like you please!

Serves 2. Costs around £3 depending on filling and takes about 15-20 min

You’ll need:

1 large potato

4 eggs

1.5 mugs of milk,

200g of low fat cream cheese, garlic and herb flavour (for cooking I always use own brand, you can never tell.)

1 red pepper

2 spring onions

Optional filling of bacon, chorizo, tuna, mushrooms!

A handful of grated cheese

Some chopped chives

In a bowl, whisk your eggs and milk, adding some seasoning and the chives. Beat in half of the cream cheese.  In a pan, add a splash of oil and a layer of thinly sliced potatoes.

Pour over the egg mix, before adding the chopped onions, peppers and other filling. Cook on the hob for around 8 min on a medium heat. Add several knobs of cream cheese to the top (don’t mush it up,leave it in lumps) along with a sprinkling of cheese, before transferring under a grill.

Grill for another 5-8 min or until well golden.

Serve with salad and fresh bred and I can guarantee you’ll love it.

Cheap, quick and lots of vegi/non-vegi options

 

xx

 

 

Super Soup-Chicken Noodle Yum

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Here in the UK, the dreary winter is still dragging its heels, and the chilly nights and wet days are lagging on. Its difficult not to indulge in the comfort eating on the scale of pies and chocolate and stew daily which I regularly dream of, but I have found a ray of relatively healthy light in all the sin. This recipe has become my go to on those days when it all becomes too much, when I need a pick me up, when I need a cuddle on the inside.

Its a very flexible and mouldable recipe, so please change it to how you fancy!

It takes about 40 min from start to finish, and cost about £4 to make 6 portions-Pretty Good!

You’ll need:

4 Spring onions chopped finely (don’t forget my tip about planting the roots so they regrow!)

A thumb sized piece of ginger. Recipe books will tell you to chop it, but I hate it when you end up chewing on a chunk, so I grate it finely as if it was fruit peel.

2 chicken breasts

1 tin of sweetcorn

2 cloves of garlic

400g of rice noodles

Splash of Soy Sauce

Splash of oil

Litre and a half of chicken stock

 

So start by chopping up the onions and adding them to a large pan of oil. Add the chicken breasts and sear for a few minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger, followed by the stock.

Simmer for 30 min.

Take the chicken from the pan, and with a fork, shred it into pieces. Re-add to the pan, along with sweetcorn, noodles and a splash of soy sauce. Cook through for another 5 minutes then serve!

A beautiful, beautiful recipe well under £1 a portion

xx